Having collaborated in the third film version of playwright Aleksis Kivi's Nummisuutarit a year earlier, director Valentin Vaala and actor Martti Kuningas got back together in a light musical comedy Nuori mylläri in 1958. Based on a 1912 play by Maiju Lassila, the story is set in a small rural village in the early 20th century. A handsome young man named Pentti Mäkinen (Martti Kuningas) arrives in the village hoping to meet his father who worked there as a miller long ago. Upon hearing that the old man has passed away years ago, Pentti takes up the miller's duties himself and instantly wins the affections of many local girls, much to the chagrin of their jealous boyfriends. However, the only girl Pentti truly loves is Hilkka (Teija Sopanen), the daughter of a local tailor and preacher Koikale (Artturi Laakso). As expected, there are many obstacles on the couple's way to happiness, such as a crass rivaling suitor named Myrkky (Matti Lehtelä) and the monetary schemes of a local farmer who is after the old miller's inheritance.
Just like in Nummisuutarit, the faded Sovcolor cinematography looks very charming and brings the village's green fields and blue river to life beautifully. The performances also follow the style set in the aforementioned film; everybody plays their role in an exaggerated and rather theatrical manner, but in a light comedy like this it doesn't really matter as long as the story is entertaining. Fortunately, it is: the songs and dances are fun (Kuningas' vocals were performed by legendary singer Olavi Virta), the criss-crossing romances of the villagers are amusing and the "sinful" strolling of Pentti and the girls at the local youths' assembling place looks adorably innocent from a modern point of view.
Perhaps in the middle it feels that the story could move slightly faster and I wish there were more songs near the end, but since the movie is no longer than 90 minutes anyway, such complaints don't last for long. The finale where all the local girls and women end up stuck in the machinery room of Pentti's mill is pretty funny and even though the ending is as predictable as any traditional rom-com, the overall mood is enjoyable enough to make the film a fun little flick. The makers of Nuori mylläri may not have aimed high, but the movie achieves what it was going for and is thus recommended to all fans of old musical comedies and early colour films from Finland.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?